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TALKS ON THE WAR, Evening Post, Volume XCIV, Issue 17, 20 July 1917
TALKS ON THE WAR
BY RETURNED OFFICERS
LAST NIGHT'S ENTERTAINMENT
, A unique entertainment, with a view to raising funds for "The Terrace Day" at the Red Gross Shop, waa held in the Concert Chamber at the Town Hall last evening. It took the form of "Talks on the War," by officers who have returned from the various theatres of war, and proved most interesting, a» well as instructive. The Concert Chamber was filled :to overflowing, and among those present was Her Excellency the Countess of Liverpool. Major J. L. Sleeman, 1.G.5., Director of Military Training, presided. INCIDENTS OP A NAVAL CRUISE. Capt. P. Hall-Thompson, C.M.G., E.N., Naval Advisor to the New Zealand Government, related a few incidents that occurred during a naval cruise round about the- Gulf of Suez, the Mediterranean, and Persian Gulf. For several months, he said, they were engaged in watching the Syrian coast, with a view to preventing the Turks from constructing fortifications, etc. Whenever they saw a man digging a. hole they fired at him, and thus had a little target practice .every day. It helped to pass the time agreeably. On a later occasion they observed a Turkish, force marching along the coast, and opened fire, bagging 72 Turks with one shot. The Turks, in reply to these "representations," notified that certain Englishmen, who were in their hands, would be executed, but he replied, reminding them that the British held so many Turkish officers and men as prisoners of war, and were therefore in a position to retaliate. After engaging in operations on the North African coast, they were mixed up in tho engagements at Aden, where they lost a good many men, mainly owing to the intense heat. A man who sat down there when tired never got up again,l the temperature of the sand being over 200 degrees. Finally, they went to the Persian Gulf, which was not a Very pleasant place, and which he never wished to see again. The record temperature they had there was 105 at midnight, which was "a little trying." The German agents there, he declared, were extraordinarily efficient. They not only learned the language, but lived the same life as the PeTsiane and observed the same religion. The Mesopotamian campaign presented mainly a problem of transport. During the first attempt on Bagdad all sorts of small river craft appeared from nowhere, but these were not enough, and a vast change was brought about before the launching of the second attempt. As indicating this, ho stated that on the day after our troops entered Bagdad no less than 6000 tons of provisions were landed by river transport in that famous city. (Applause.) ■ TALES OF GALLIFOL-I. "The Landing at GalJipoli: The First Day," formed ihe subject of a twenty minutes disconrse by Colonel J. G. Hughes, C.M;G., D.S.O. He said he was unable to participate in the actual landing, but towards 10 o'clock that night they were instructed to prepare for evacuation. Ho told >ow he collected as many boats as possible, waded ashore, and met General Birdwood and two other Generals on the beach. But, eventually, it was decided to remain on, as_ they knew. He then related several incidents of the life at xVnzao, referring particularly to Quinn's Post. In the great battle of August, 1915, the New Zealanders were set five objectives. They gained them all that night, and held them. (Applause.) The New Zealanders had never failed to reach their objective. (Applause.) , Major Waite, D.5.0., N.Z. Engineers, also spoke of life on Gallipoli. He paid a tribute to the wonderful spirit of brotherhood that had developed between the Australians and New Zealanders during the first week at Anssac, and likewise to the bravory of the poor subaltern, the one-star man, who had to bo the first man over the parapet, and was more often than not the first to "get it on the head." Major C. E. Andrews, speaking upon the evacuation of Gollipoli, dolcl of various ruses adopted. The operation was spread over five days, and all went well tmtil the third night, when a. pile of stores .. on Anzac beach accidentally caught'fire, lighting up the sea and country for miles around. The Turks, however, took tho credit to themselves for the ilell-tale flames, thinking they ■had set the stores alight by their own gunfire. When they saw the lighters plying to and fro, they also guessed wrongly that the. British were landing troops ■for an attack on. Christmas Day. So the evacuation went steadily on. until it came to the last night, when the rearguards were left alone to hold the lines while their comrades, embarked. Thanks to the previously exeouted spells of silence the Turks were deceived, and at 2.15 a.m. the last men in the front-line trenches were assembled on the prearranged signal—the special firing of a machine-gun—and made a dash for the ■beach. He was convinced that they were being followed, and stepped aside. Suddenly a queer object dashed past him. Fortunately, ho did not shoot, because it was one of his own men, who had gone back for his pipe, and. had very little left on him through having to crawl under tho barricade. (Applause.) THE ROYAL FLYING CORPS. Lieut. E. T. Shand, Boyal Flying Corps,. who saw servioe at Salonika, where he was wounded, opened with an account of what modern aeroplanes were like. The modern scout machine, he said, was capable of developing a speed of 180 miles an hour. There was practically no : limit to the height to ■which an aeroplane could go, except human endurance, very few men being' able to go higher than 20,000 feet, owing to blood rushing from the ours and mouth. The machines, too, were capable of great lifting power, one Russian machine being able to lift more than five times its own •weight. He told of exciting aerial encounters at El Arish, and sensations of flying, aerial reconnaisance, observing for artillery, and of an aerial duel at SEilonika, in which ihe observer and the pilot were both wounded, at an altitude of 11,000 feet. They were then some miles beyond the Allied lines, the engine was smashed, and the_ pilot was faced with the problem of gliding the distance with- safety. This he accomplished, though both of them narrowly missed being killed in the landing. The same pilot, a gallant Frenchman, met his death through a nose-dive three weeks later The "talks" wete listened to with rapt attention by the audience, who, <xn the motion of the Mayor (Mr. J. P. Luke, C.M.Q.), accorded the officers and promoters oi the entertainment a h«arty vote of thanks. The Mis9»s Henry rendered musical selections during the evening. The proceedings concluded with the singing of itho National Anthem.
TALKS ON THE WAR, Evening Post, Volume XCIV, Issue 17, 20 July 1917
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